Summary: Let’s give some helps as we suffer together in a family (Material adapted from the Back to God Hour, February 1989, Volume 35, Number 2, and Carol Luebering at: http://www.freitagfuneralhome.com/publications/grieving-family.htm)
A web site for funeral directors asked them, “What’s the craziest thing that’s ever happened at your funeral home?” Many responses but share one called Amazing Grace from Dylan S: “I had a woman preach the funeral of her own son. After calling him a litany of derogatory names, she proceeded to call her boyfriend to the front podium, then asked me to ‘play that song’, and as I played Amazing Grace, she and this man slow danced in front of her son’s casket.” We see a more traditional grief stricken response of the widow from Nain at her son’s funeral.
Every family has their struggles. I have heard this especially when, in a family where we would least expect it, that family has struggles. People shake their heads and murmur, “It’s true of every family. No one is immune; we all have our problems.”
In a family, suffering can have a positive impact, and when a family carries its burden, and faces the depth of suffering, this can have good results.
Many times use the word grief. Grief is a natural response to losses of many kinds.
From our Scripture we notice that the potential for grief increases as a family grows larger. When we marry and have children and those children grow up and give us grandchildren- the circle of people who mean a great deal to us can just grow and grow. And each of these people has the potential of hurting us directly or indirectly.
The widow of Nain had married. Her husband had died, and that had given her sorrow. Now her son had died too. One of the worst sorrows I am told is when a child dies and the parents grieve over that child. Even though this story describes a small family, this illustrates that when people get involved in a family, they open themselves up to suffering and grief.
Also from this account in Luke 7, we find that Jesus knew about the suffering that goes on in families. “When the Lord saw her, his heart went out to her” Luke 7:13, NIV. Jesus realizes that families suffer a great deal.
In that society women depended upon the men to provide for them. Her weeping could be heard above the crowd who walked with her. And then Jesus came.
“Then he went up and touched the coffin, and those carrying it stood still. He said, “Young man, I say to you, get up!” The dead man sat up and began to talk, and Jesus gave him back to his mother.” Luke 7:14, 15. How I wish I could say to every parent who has grieved over a child who has died that Jesus Christ will raise that child as he did at Nain but I cannot.
Every time Jesus came near someone who’d died… they refused to stay dead. However, need to realize that Jesus didn’t visit every funeral. And Jesus didn’t raise every dead person from the grave. Only 3 times Jesus raised the dead.
1. Here at the city of Nain.
2. Later, Jesus encountered Jairus the ruler of the synagogue. This man’s 12 yr. old daughter had just died. But Jesus went to their house, entered the room where her body was being prepared for burial. He took her by the hand, said “Little girl, arise” and she came back from the dead.
3. Jesus stood before the tomb of Lazarus and called out “Lazarus, come forth” and a man who’d been dead for 4 days, came out of the grave. However, Jesus did NOT raise EVERY dead person from the grave. Why? Because at that time this is not his mission.
Jesus experienced the sufferings we sometimes feel in the family. He grew up here on earth as part of a family. (Talk more about this tonight) He saw suffering in other families: “When Jesus saw her (Mary) weeping, and the Jews who had come along with her also weeping, he was deeply moved in spirit and troubled. “Where have you laid him?” he asked. “Come and see, Lord,” they replied. Jesus wept.” John 11:33-35, NIV.
Today is Palm Sunday. Davon, what in the world does this have to do with Palm Sunday? Day of Celebration. Yes, but just a few days later Jesus would be arrested and brought to his trials. He would be condemned and die on the old rugged cross. I’m told there’s a broken heart in every pew. May not feel like celebrating because many are in a Good Friday. Also, we cannot appreciate Easter Sunday unless we have gone through Good Friday.
Jesus knows much about family suffering. His mother Mary was right there at the cross while he was dying. “When Jesus saw his mother there, and the disciple whom he loved standing near by, he said to his mother, “Dear woman, here is your son,” and to the disciple, “Here is your mother.” From that time on, this disciple took her into his home.” John 19:26, 27, NIV. Imagine the suffering that Mary endured while there at the cross and to see his mother!